After the Act

Clean Up

Men and women should both urinate after having intercourse—especially women, since many women have a tendency to develop urinary tract infections or yeast infections.  You can also choose to shower afterwards, but women should NOT douche.  Douching does not prevent pregnancy or STI transmission, in fact douching may help move sperm further up the vaginal canal or abrade skin to make STI transmission easier. 

If the woman is bleeding after sexual intercourse, she should use a menstrual pad to catch the blood.  Do not use a tampon—since you are not on your period it will dry out your vaginal canal and possibly cause more pain or an infection.

 Cuddles

Some people like cuddling after sex.  Some people like sleeping after sex.  A study has found that as long as a woman urinates half an hour after sex, she is decreasing her chances of a urinary tract or other infection.  Any later than that and the chances go up.  Just something to keep in mind.

 Plan B/Morning After Pill

Women can take the morning after pill for up to five days after intercourse (although the earlier, the better.)  Emergency Contraceptives (Plan B) prevent pregnancy following unprotected intercourse or a known or suspected contraceptive failure (ie broken condom).  If you have had unprotected sex, EC is a lot safer and cheaper than an abortion, childbirth, or child support.  Plan B is available at the Ashe Center pharmacy without a prescription.

EC does not cause an abortion.  A dose of hormones inhibits or delays ovulation, interferes with fertilization, and alters the endometrium to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.  In this respect it operates much like a high dose of hormonal birth control, although it is generally less effective (birth control has a success rate of 92-99%, while EC's efficacy is around 75-89%, depending on how soon you take it.) Note that, like the pill, EC does not protect the user against sexually transmitted diseases.

Emergency Contraception is not and should not be used as a substitute for more consistent contraceptives such birth control pills.  It is risky to engage in unprotected sex because even though EC exists, you might not be able to have access to it.   Like the name suggests, EC is for emergency use only (ie: broken condom, unprotected sex, etc); even though its existence is a great step forward for women's rights, it should not be abused.  If you are having sex regularly, using birth control pills or something like an IUD would be more effective against pregnancy than using emergency contraception.  One pack of birth control pills costs the same as a single EC pill--and offers better protection.

Since EC is actually a large dosage of the same hormones found in some birth control pills, if you have a type of birth control that has the same chemicals you can take a large dosage of the pills and get the same result as EC.  If you are on birth control and taking the pills diligently (taking the pill at about the same time every day), you should be 99.5% protected so you probably don't need EC.  But if you are not on the pill but do have one of these brands or their generic versions: Alesse, Levlen, Levlite, Levora, Lo-Ovral, Nordette, Ovral, Ovrette, Tri-Levlen, Trivora, Triphasil--you can take them as EC.  This website has dosage amounts, but in the interest of safety please check with a doctor first.

Ashe Center Handout on Emergency Contraceptive Pill found here

How to Get Emergency Contraceptives

In the United States, the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B is approved for sale through pharmacies without prescription to women and men 18 and older.  You do NOT need a prescription.

[When I first started this website, the FDA had decided to postpone it's decision on making EC available over the counter.  In California, EC was available by prescription only--either through a physician or through "pharmacy access" (a pharmacist dispensed it to you after a brief consultation).  Things have thankfully changed!]

All major pharmacy chains should have Plan B, but I would call ahead to check inventory.  It will be kept behind the counter, so you will have to ask the pharmacist for it.  You will be asked to show a government-issued ID with proof of age.

If you already have a pack of regular birth control pills, you may be able to use them for emergency contraception (click here to find out more about which oral contraceptives have been proven safe and effective for preventing pregnancy after sex). However, these brands of pills are not as effective as pills containing only progestin, such as Plan B in the United States.

The 1800 Not2Late website has a zip code search and more information on how to get EC.

At the UCLA Arthur Ashe Center pharmacy, the $17.75 cost for Plan B is a cheaper price than one you would otherwise be able to get at most other drug stores at market value.  The current market value for Plan B is about $34.   Of course, the Ashe center is only open M-F during normal business hours, so you might just have to go elsewhere.  Plan B can be anonymously billed to your BAR account (all it will say is "Ashe Center pharmacy," so you can tell your parents it was for cold meds--they sell those, too, and it's cheaper than Ackerman!)

Where can you get free ECP?  Many family planning clinics hand out limited amounts of ECP to students for free.  However, if you're going to all of these clinics and collecting tons of ECP pills, you might as well consider getting on birth control pills, which are more reliable and will not mess with your menstrual cycle as much.

Clinics that distribute free EC include the Planned Parenthood in Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, The UCLA Family Planning Clinic, and through CNP Raisa Reznik.  (Read more about these places in Resources)  They will also provide free or discounted birth control, condoms, STD testing, and counseling.

By the way, if you are already on hormonal birth control you shouldn't need EC (unless you really, really skipped pills or messed up there), because regular hormonal birth control already provides the protecting EC would, anyway.

Don't forget to get tested regularly!  ^_-

Feeling an itch or sporting a sore?  Get it checked out before your nether regions rot off.  No, just kidding.  Well, it could happen.  But seriously, even if you aren't exhibiting symptoms, and especially if you are, get checked out regularly by a gyno, your primary care practitioner, or a free clinic doctor.  The most common routine tests are HIV, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia, since they are often asymptomatic--unless you get tested once a year you might never know you have it until it is too late.

    HIV/AIDS:   Again, UCLA offers free STI testing at Ashe and during events like World AIDS Day.  There are two ways to get tested, through a blood sample and a oral swab test.  The Ashe Center currently only has the blood sample test, but the testing vans often have oral swab tests.  The USAC President's Office Campus Health Care Reform Committee is working on getting rapid HIV testing (the oral test) to Ashe.  It is very important to get tested for HIV, because the sooner a HIV+ person knows they are HIV+ the sooner they can begin taking medicine that will prevent the onset of full-blown AIDS.  HIV tests are free at UCLA regardless of whether or not you have SHIP.

    Gonorrhea and Chlamydia: These STIs are diagnosed by swabbing areas that might possibly be infected.  Often taken in conjunction with Pap Smear test.  Urine test sometimes also used.

    HPV and Genital Warts:  If one pops up and it looks like a wart, close examination to determine whether or not the wart is caused by HPV will follow.  Women should get an annual Pap Smear to check for cervical cancer. 

    Pap Smears:  A pap smear involves the insertion of a plastic speculum that props open the vagina and allows the doctor to to take samples of cells from the cervix.  Actually not as uncomfortable as it sounds, and a must to look out for cervical cancer.  Pap smears at the Ashe Center are free for all UCLA students, regardless of SHIP status.

    Vaginitis: Female itching can be caused by both yeast and bacteria, a swab test and microscope check out can determine whether over the counter yeast infection treatments or prescription antibiotics will solve the problem.

    Herpes:  Diagnosed when the symptoms show up or through blood tests.  Symptoms are more reliable, since some times chicken pox causes false positives.

     

Worried About Pregnancy?

Go to this part of the site: I'm Afraid I/my Partner Might Be Pregnant.  What Should I Do?